5 Fixable office issues are sapping time from your workforce – and costing you money.


Time is your most valuable resource, especially when you’re running a busy office. A lack of productivity doesn’t just leave you paying peoples’ salaries without much return – it also saps morale when people need to work late hours or through lunch to accomplish what should be done in the normal work day. Here are five fixable thieves of time in the office.


Going Off-Site

Sometimes, you simply need to go to a client or partner’s office and thrash out an important issue. But not every time. When you look at the time spent on meetings outside the office and the return on that investment, it’s usually obvious that several trips are unnecessary. Especially with established clients, try to arrange one monthly face-to-face meeting where issues of strategy are discussed, and relegate day-to-day matters to the phone, email and Skype.


Meeting Run-Ons

We’ve all been in meetings where the productive business was effectively done in the first twenty minutes, but the room has been booked for an hour and everyone plays along. You can save your time, and that of your employees, by working through an organised agenda, agreeing the consensus or necessary action on each item, and wrapping up once everybody is satisfied. Chairing meetings in this efficient way will free your staff up to work productively elsewhere in the business.


Lunch at the Desk

Some people make it a perverse point of pride to skip lunch as proof of how hard their working. In reality, failing to take a mid-day break saps productivity and morale. Meanwhile, a ‘half lunch’ at the desk blurs the line between rest and work, leading to an extended period of half-hearted effort. Don’t reward or encourage this ostensibly dedicated but ultimately ineffectual carry on, and set an example yourself by getting out of the office at lunchtime.


Unclear Priorities

Organised people get more done. It’s not because they’re inherently more intelligent, creative or dedicated: it’s simply because they know what they’re doing from minute to minute. If you’re working in an environment where priorities shift, and you need to jump from one task to another with little notice, you won’t accomplish half as much as you will when you know your priorities at 9 O’clock and can get stuck into one task after another. make sure your team know what they’re meant to be working on from day to day rather than frantically reacting to unforseen developments.


Personal Sites

The internet is always seen as a major thief of time in the workplace, and it’s easy for otherwise good employees to waste hours on personal browsing. Many large organisations have struggled with this phenomenon. You can take a proscriptive approach by blocking certain sites on company computers, or simply let your staff know that their use is continually monitored – that information alone encourages restraint.


Eamonn Garvey


DCA Accountants and Business Advisors